Analytical screening of organic chemicals of emerging concern in western Kenya and their contribution to the prevalence of schistosomiasis

  • In the past decades, the use and production of chemicals has been on the rise globally due to increasing industrialization and intensive agriculture; resulting in the occurrence and ecotoxicological risks of chemicals of emerging concern (CECs) in the aquatic compartments. Risks include changes in community structure resulting in the dominance of one species and ecosystem imbalance. When dominant disease-causing organisms are in the environment, the disease transmission is increased. For example, host snails for the schistosomiasis, a human trematode disease, are known to be tolerant to pesticide exposure compared to the predators. This would therefore result in an increased abundance of snails which consequently increase the disease transmission in the human population. Kenya, being a low income country faces a lot of challenges with provision of clean water, diseases and sanitation facilities, and increasing population which results in intensive agriculture coupled with pesticide use. Although a lot of research has been carried out on the environmental occurrence and risk of CECs (Chapter 1), most of these studies have been done in developed countries with limited information from Africa. Additionally, research in Africa focused on urban areas with limited number of compounds analyzed and mostly in the water phase, and inadequate information on the effects of CECs on the aquatic organisms. In order to reduce this knowledge gap, this dissertation focused on identification and quantification of CECs present in water, sediment and snails from western Kenya, and the contribution of pesticides to the transmission of schistosomiasis. Chapter 2 gives a summary of the results and discussion of the dissertation. In Chapter 3, a comprehensive chemical analysis was carried out on 48 water samples to identify compounds, spatial patterns and associated risks for fish, crustacean and algae using toxic unit (TU) approach. A total of 78 compounds were detected with pesticides and biocides being the compounds most frequently detected. Spatial pattern analysis revealed limited compound grouping based on land use. Acute risk for crustaceans and algae were driven by one to three individual compounds. These compounds responsible for toxicity were prioritized as candidate compounds for monitoring and regulation in Kenya. In Chapter 4, an extension of Chapter 3 was done to cover the CECs present in snails and sediment from the 48 sites. A total of 30 compounds were found in snails and 78 in sediments with 68 additional compounds being found which were not previously detected in water. Higher contaminant concentrations were found in agricultural sites than in areas without anthropogenic activities. The highest acute toxicity (TU 0.99) was determined for crustaceans based on compounds in sediment samples. The risk was driven by diazinon and pirimiphos-methyl. Acute and chronic risks to algae were driven by diuron whereas fish were found to be at low to no acute risk. In Chapter 5, the effect of pesticide contamination on schistosomiasis transmission was evaluated by applying complimentary laboratory and field studies. In the field studies, the ecological mechanisms through which pesticides and physical chemical parameters affect host snails, predators and competitors were investigated. Pesticide data was obtained from the results in chapter 3. The overall distribution of grazers and predators was not affected by pesticide pollution. However, within the grazers, pesticide pollution increased dominance of host snails. On the contrary, the host-snail competitors were highly sensitive to pesticide exposure. For the laboratory studies, macroinvertebrates including Schistosoma-host snails, competitors and predators were exposed to 6 concentrations levels of imidacloprid and diazinon. Snails showed higher insecticide tolerance compared to competitors and predators. Finally, Chapter 6 summarizes the conclusions of this dissertation, placing it in a broader context. In this dissertation, a comprehensive chemical characterization and risk assessment of CECs has been carried out in freshwater systems; together with the effects of pesticides on schistosomiasis transmission in rural western Kenya. Results of this dissertation showed that rural areas are contaminated posing a risk to aquatic organisms which contribute to schistosomiasis transmission. This shows the need for regular monitoring and policy formulation to reduce pollutant emissions which contributes negatively to both ecological and human health effects.

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Author:Faith Jebiwot KandieGND
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Referee:Werner BrackORCiDGND, Henner HollertORCiDGND, Jörg OehlmannORCiDGND
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2021/01/21
Year of first Publication:2021
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2021/01/15
Release Date:2021/02/08
Tag:Freshwater Ecosystems; Organic micropollutants; Risk assessment; Schistosomiaisis; Western Kenya
Page Number:210
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
3 Sozialwissenschaften / 33 Wirtschaft / 333 Boden- und Energiewirtschaft / 333.7 Natürliche Ressourcen, Energie und Umwelt
Sammlung Biologie / Biologische Hochschulschriften (Goethe-Universität)
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht